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Rabbi Chaim Coffman
Rabbi Coffman has helped people from all across the spectrum to prepare themselves properly for Orthodox Conversion to Judaism. His students admire his vast knowledge and appreciate his warm, personal attention and endearing sense of humor.
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Welcome to Rabbi Chaim Coffman's Blog!

I would like to thank you for visiting my blog, Beyond Orthodox Conversion to Judaism.

The conversion process can be a lengthy and daunting one to say the least and I want you to know that I am here to help you through it.

I have been teaching newcomers to Judaism for over a decade and over the last few years I have seen that conversion candidates really lack the support and knowledge they need to navigate the conversion process and successfully integrate into the Orthodox Jewish community.

I created my mentorship program in order to help make this whole experience as smooth and as painless as possible! (Can't do much about the growing pains, though ;)

Feel free to get to know me a little through the posts on my blog and visit the mentorship and syllabus page if you are interested in possible joining us.

I sincerely wish you all the best in your search for truth and spiritual growth.

Looking forward to meeting you,
Chaim Coffman

My Rebbe, Rav Moshe Sternbuch

In case you were wondering why I have all of these articles written by Rav Moshe Sternbuch, he is my Rebbe, and one of the gedolei hador (greatest Rabbis of our generation).

Rav Sternbuch fully endorses me and supports my mentorship program.

He is the address for all of my halachic or hashkafic (practical and philosophical) questions that I or my students may have.

The articles are based on his weekly talks on the Torah portion that the Rav gives in Jerusalem in his kollel. As a member of the kollel I get first dibbs on the photocopies and I type them up for my blog so you can all benefit from the Rav's erudition and insight.
Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 5 Mishna 13: Learn how to Give with a Full Heart and not Take from Others

"There are four characters among men: He who says 'what is mine is mine and what is yours is yours' is the average type, though some say this is a Sodom -type; he who says, 'What is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine' is ignorant; he who says, 'What is mine is yours and what is yours is yours' is godly; he who says 'What is yours is mine, and what is mine is mine' is wicked". 

The Mishna describes the character traits of a person and whether they are good or bad. The first one is the average type because he does not want anyone to benefit from what he has but at the same he does not want to benefit from someone else's things as well.

It is interesting the Mishna here calls it average because you also don't want to get benefit from an object that someone else has. The fact that you don't want to share is not so uncommon because we always want to watch over what we have  but not wanting to benefit from someone else is praiseworthy because we are supposed to hate gifts in general. Why so?

The reason is that our nature is that if we benefit too much from others then we will not only get used to it but we will feel obligated to give to them or help them as well. While this may not seem so bad, it could lead a person to rely on others too much!

Why is this called by some the Sodom type? This case is talking about a person who gives charity out of obligation because of fear. Why fear? He realizes it is the right thing to do but he doesn't it only for the mitzvah and not because he has a desire to help others.

Others say that the essence of this person is bad and therefore should be called a rasha (evil) because in reality they don't want to help the person in the first place. This teaches us that even if a person gives charity but they give it with a sour face, they don't get the mitzvah. This is truly unbelievable because at the end of the day they are giving!!

The next part of the Mishna speaks about an ignorant person who gives and helps others but at the same time, takes things from others when he should realize that this is not the best thing for a person as we explained earlier. While he wants to help others, he loses out by benefiting in a way that will have negative effects on his life!

The last part of the Mishna tells us of the godly person who helps out others but does not accept gifts. He displays his ability to give to others and is willing to do so without getting benefit from others. This is praiseworthy and the correct path to choose as we try and navigate this world without getting used to gifts from others.

This will help us in life as we realize the importance of what it means to give and help others. Taking from others should be done as a last resort; the last thing a person needs is to feel indebted to others. When that happens it lowers their self esteem and causes many problems as well!